Yet I think we have just about arrived at the time when we need to pause and regroup. Here’s what I’m seeing:
At the beginning, everyone seemed to think we didn’t really need to take anything with us to Mars for worship, because worship should be a fairly simple matter and here on Earth, we’ve added way too much to it; the idea of simple worship seemed to be the dominant thought. Yet as the discussion progressed, it seemed that several of us realized that there were indeed a few things we might need for worship after all. We need music, and maybe we need a few other things like communion and we should really list our dislikes about church so we can avoid doing anything we dislike, but then, we might need some ritual, because some like that, and we need lots of praise, but it can’t be loud, because some don’t like loud music and chit chat, because we need more time for prayer, but not too much…
OK fine: You caught me. Yes, I pulled some of that out of context, but only so we could get to the point quickly.
I have done this in live classes several times, and I let it get to the place where people started to become unhappy with each other; I don’t think this is the right medium to go that far, however.
The Biblical study of worship can be tricky. It isn’t tricky because it’s all that complicated, it’s tricky because there are several factors that come together making it very easy to become confused. For instance, the English word “worship” appears 75 times in the NIV, but three different Greek words translate as “worship” in English, and they have three different meanings.
There are many different ways for a congregation to conduct worship. Some are very formal and ritualistic, some a sort of formal, yet quite traditional, while others are more relaxed and non-traditional, and still others are contemporary and almost anti-traditional.
So, which is right?
Many people today are in the habit of using the word “worship” in place of the word “music”: Are music and worship the same thing?
There is more than one kind of worship mentioned in the New Testament, I’ll mention 3 of them: Individual private worship, family worship and corporate worship (Church worship service). Would you be surprised if I told you that individual worship is spoken of in the New Testament a great deal more than corporate worship? Well, it most assuredly is. Can you imagine what would happen if a person took their personal worship practices and preferences and sought tom impose them on the corporate worship of the entire congregation?
There are 2 possible outcomes: 1. Unity in the church is broken and the church splits. 2. Unity in the church is broken and the congregation drifts away and the church dies.
Worship, you see, is a serious topic.
Years ago, I was asked to pick up a couple of undergrad courses on worship: Intro to Worship 1 and Intro to Worship 2. It always came as a shock to the students that almost everything they knew about worship was not from Scripture. Sadly, most of what we think we know on the subject comes from culture, tradition and custom and are entirely of human invention.
Yep, worship is a tricky subject.
Why do we have so many different traditions, customs and styles of worship? So many denominations and non-denominations?
Because it always seems to come down to what people like and don’t like. Yet God casts a very broad net, and He doesn’t want anyone to perish, not even the ones with whom I disagree!
Hard to believe, but it’s true.
Next time, I’ll bring some more information into this Quest of ours, and let’s see if we can come up with a Scriptural foundation upon which to build an understanding of worship that we can use to at least understand if we can come together to a consensus on which to proceed.
So, my next question is this:
Other than everyone just agreeing with me on everything, or with you, what would it take for all of us who seek to follow Jesus Christ, to come together as One in the Body of Christ− is that even possible?
OK, it’s your turn…